Posts Tagged: HIPAA

Tips for Working from Home Securely

working from home securely

In the field of healthcare, keeping protected healthcare information (PHI) secure and private is necessary for compliance. HIPAA has specific rules about how PHI can be stored and shared. As the world deals with a changing workforce dynamic, you may be wondering what working from home securely looks like. As a company that began as being completely remote and still has the majority of its workforce in this model, we wanted to share how we work securely every day.

How to Master Working from Home Securely

Follow these tips to ensure safe and secure data practices.

Educate employees on HIPAA rules

All your employees should participate in HIPAA training at the beginning of their employment with an update at least annually. What do your employees need to know? Check out our HIPAA compliance checklist for employees.

Provide VPN access

Deploying a VPN keeps data secure as it moves from core systems to remote employees. A VPN adds another layer of security, which hides the user’s IP address, encrypts data while in transit, and masks the user’s location. Every remote employee that has access to PHI should be using a VPN.

Keep data security protection up to date

All the layers of security on your network must be updated as needed to ensure patch installation. This includes virus checkers, firewalls, and device encryption. 

Define rules on passwords

The 2019 Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report (DBIR) found that 80% of hacking-related breaches were the result of compromised and weak employee passwords. To mitigate this risk, you should develop password guidelines. Further, you should use a password manager to act as a digital vault, such as 1Password. You can also promote greater security with two-factor authentication.

secure home work

Maintain software updates

Every software or application that your company uses that interacts with PHI should be kept updated. Activate automatic updating to devices to ensure nothing gets missed. These updates are imperative to ensuring your software is safe to use.

Use the cloud

The cloud has proven to be a much more secure way to store, share, and manage data. If you are still using on-site servers, they are actually more vulnerable. We partner with Flexential, as our trusted data center. They host all our servers and are a top-tier, national colocation provider. Their certifications include PCI DSS, HIPAA compliance, HITRUST CSF, SOC 1, 2 & 3 Type 2, ISO 27001, NIST 800-53, EU-U.S. privacy shield framework, and ITAR.

Develop and maintain your business continuity plan

Having a business continuity plan is a must for any healthcare organization. Beyond just including the steps for disaster recovery, business continuity planning defines how you’ll keep running. It should consist of your data backup protocols and what you’ll do to keep workers and assets protected. 

Working from Home Securely: Keep Your Business Safe and Up

As the new normal begins to shift, working from home is essential to keep your employees safe and your business running. If you haven’t established a plan for this, start with these vital tips.

HIPAA Compliance Checklist: What Employees Need to Know

HIPAA compliance checklist

In the realm of healthcare, HIPAA compliance is always a key character in how it’s stored, shared, and handled. As an organization, you may have HIPAA compliance standards in place, but are your employees following or aware of the rules? Employee training and education are critical to adherence, so if you aren’t sure what your employees know, start with this HIPAA compliance checklist.

HIPAA Compliance Is Complex but Should Be Standardized

While the provisions and language of the law are quite complex, adhering to it doesn’t have to be complicated. Unfortunately, the number of complaints continues to trend up. In the past four years on record, the total cases have increased steadily, with a total of 25,089 for 2018, according to the Office of Civil Rights (OCR).

HIPAA was designed to set up industry-wide standards regarding PHI to protect patients and reduce fraud and abuse. Every employee has a role to play in HIPAA compliance, and training and education should be a part of everyone’s onboarding. Employees can often be the “weak” link in breaches or security incidents—the more they know, the less likely they’ll be to make such errors.

The Employee HIPAA Compliance Checklist

HIPAA compliance for employees
  • Does every partner that you share PHI with have a valid Business Associate Agreement (BAA)? Employees must be aware of the importance of a BAA before entering into partnerships.
  • Have you assessed your risk? To evaluate risk and audit your processes, you should follow the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) guidelines. When you find weaknesses, your team then needs to develop a remediation plan to address them.
  • Are your PHI policies distributed and communicated? To ensure that all employees handle PHI appropriately, you must have procedures in place, and they need to be accessible. You have to do more than just hand them a document. You must track and document that they have read and understood them.
  • Do you have a HIPAA training plan? Every employee should undergo training on HIPAA. Educating and empowering your team with knowledge not only keeps your company compliant but makes them mindful of all their interactions with protected data. You’ll also want to document the training process and continue to improve it as regulations change, and your company grows. 
  • Do you have an incident response plan? Breaches in healthcare data are a regular occurrence. While you hope it doesn’t happen to you, you must have a plan to respond to an incident. This plan needs to be communicated to all parties, so they know their roles. Be prepared to mitigate and contain the risk.

Be HIPAA Ready with Every Transaction

Your employees are your most valuable assets, but human error is still the leading cause of HIPAA noncompliance. By using this HIPAA compliance checklist, you can reduce risk and ensure that PHI is safe and protected.

Introducing PHI Data Sharing

phi data sharing

As a pioneer in healthcare data management, we are always looking to expand our capabilities to meet the changing needs of our customers. PHI data sharing has become a significant challenge for hospitals and healthcare systems. With our services, you can cut costs and accelerate implementations. As your data liaison, we’ll help you move data internally, to a new application, or a third-party securely and compliantly. 

The Challenge with PHI Data Sharing

Moving sensitive data can be a burden on internal IT teams. Lack of bandwidth can compromise your organization’s ability to complete implementations on-time and on budget. Reduce the time and cost of PHI transfers with encrypted, secure, and compliant data sharing services from InfoWerks. With over two decades of healthcare data management experience, we have a deep understanding of PHI and how it’s stored in applications, ensuring your data is always in good hands. 

Our Data Sharing Services

data sharing for healthcare

Use our data sharing services to help with these applications, programs, and initiatives: 

  • 340B Programs 
  • Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) 
  • Population Health Management 
  • Chronic Condition Management 
  • Decision Support System 
  • Specialty EMRs 
  • Predictive Analytics 
  • Business Intelligence (BI) Platforms 
  • LIS (Laboratory Information Systems) 
  • HIS (Health Information Systems) 
  • HEDIS Reporting 

Why Partner with InfoWerks

As a data management company with a healthcare-centric approach, we can offer solutions that other vendors cannot. Here’s why we’re different: 

  • Robust security: We encrypt using AES256 while data is in transit or at rest, ensuring HIPAA compliance.
  • PHI expertise: Our decades of experience with PHI ensures a smooth transfer without risk exposure. 
  • Simple scalability: Enjoy a repeatable process that enables scalability without constraints and roadblocks. 
  • Always on time: Experience no lags in transferring data so that you can meet your timelines and deadlines. 
  • 24/7/365 support: Access our support team whenever you need them with worry-free assurances. 

Explore our data sharing solutions today to learn how we can make your migrations pain-free!